Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jet-set rap rules all on Magna Carta Holy Grail

Magna Carta Holy Grail by Jay-Z

Ten years ago, after the release of his Grammy nominated eighth studio effort The Black Album, music mogul Jay-Z retired from rap. He was never really retired, though, as he collaborated on albums with R.Kelly and Linkin Park, and in 2006 the Michael Jordan of rap released his "comeback" album Kingdom Come. American Gangster (2007), The Blueprint 3 (2009) and Kanye West collaboration Watch The Throne (2011) saw to it that Jay-Z showed up in the charts every few years with hits like Roc Boys, Run This Town, Empire State Of Mind, Otis, and Niggas In Paris. Hov may be rolling in cash, and he may be married to top female R&B artist Beyoncé, but the man still enjoys crafting hit records.

On June 16, Jay-Z unexpectedly announed partnering with Samsung for the release of his twelfth album Magna Carta Holy Grail. The timing was perhaps a bit odd, with Yeezus by Kanye West slated for a June 18 release, but of course to music fans it felt like Christmas came early. 

The innovative rollout via the MCHG app was not without fault, though, as the app was invasive and ultimately failed. The album then leaked not long after its midnight launch. Ouch.

Fortunately, the songs on Magna Carta Holy Grail, 16 of them in total, plus bonus track Open Letter, will appease Jay-Z fans. The album centers largely on money and fame, with occasional ventures into fatherhood and slavery, but Jay-Z does it with such wit that his boasts are enjoyable even for us poor listeners.

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